Main Page

“You have caused delay and confusion!”
―Mr. Percival

Duncan's Bluff is the twenty-fourth episode of the tenth series.


It's wintertime and Duncan is delivering coal from the Wharf to the mountain villages. One day, he meets James and is quick to tease him for being late. James is not in the mood for Duncan's teasing; he has to take some children to a holiday concert. Duncan thinks that two jobs in one day is too much for James and James thinks he is much faster than Duncan. Duncan decides to challenge James to a coal delivery competition. Duncan reckons he can get coal to the villages faster than James can deliver coal to the Wharf. James accepts the challenge and goes off to collect more coal from the coaling plant, leaving Duncan feeling a little sheepish. He is worried that he will lose the challenge as James is bigger and faster than he is.

Duncan delivers all of the coal to the villages, only to find James back with more coal trucks. However, not wanting to lose, Duncan tells James that he has not brought enough coal for the villages, so James sets off once again for the Coaling Plant. Duncan makes his deliveries, but once back at the Wharf, there are still many coal trucks waiting for him even though no more coal is needed for the mountain villages. So Duncan decides to trick James by hiding the remaining coal trucks out of sight in a siding before he returns.

James is making his way back from the coaling plant, but he is getting worn out and he is using up a lot of coal. James is shocked to find Duncan already there, but James decides to get even more coal trucks for Duncan to take. However, James only succeeds in running out of coal and now he cannot collect the children for their concert.

The Thin Controller hears about James and informs Duncan about the situation. Duncan is struck with guilt; his trick had made things worse, so he owns up to his prank by telling the Thin Controller. Duncan quickly collects one of the hidden coal trucks, takes it to James, apologises to him about the trick, and tells him that he is Really Useful. However, James tells Duncan that he is Really Useful for bringing the coal to him. Once his tender is topped up with coal, James sets off to collect the children and Duncan agrees that they are both Really Useful Engines.




  • Stock footage from Skarloey the Brave is used.
  • This episode marks the first time The Thin Controller uses the "confusion and delay" line in an episode, but the line is inversed.
  • This episode marks the last appearance of The Old Wooden Bridge to date.


  • Mighty Mac have Sir Handel's whistle sound.
  • In many scenes, engines are missing their crew from their cabs.
  • When the narrator tried to say "James snorted", he said "James snoted".
  • Duncan's truck already has snow on it when the narrator says "Snow started to fall".
  • In the UK version, Michael Angelis provides a different voice instead of his James voice for the line "Pah!"
  • When Duncan puffs up to James to tease him his steam platform can be seen. You can also see it when Duncan arrives back at the Wharf after the first delivery of coal.
  • When James comes back to the Wharf after getting more coal there is no coal at the top of his tender. But in the closeup of Duncan in the shot afterwards there is coal at the top of his tender again.

In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Chinese 邓肯的骗局
Croatian Ivanov trik
Czech Duncanùv blaf
Danish Duncan laver narrestreger
Finnish Tauno huijausta
German Duncans Trick
Hungarian Ki a Gyorsabb?
Italian Il Trucco di Duncan
Japanese まけずぎらいのダンカン
Korean 던컨의 속임수
Norwegian Dunan jukser
Polish Podstęp Damiana
Portuguese O desafio de Duncan
Romanian Cacealmaua lui Duncan
Russian Обман Данкана
Slovak Duncanov blaf
Spanish El Desafío de Duncan (LA)
La Mentira de Duncan (SPN)
Swedish Duncan bluffar
Thai ดันแคนเจ้าเล่ห์
Turkish Duncan blöfü

Home Media Releases


UK DVD Boxsets

AUS DVD Boxsets


US DVD Boxsets



DVD Boxsets


DVD Boxsets








*Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Fandom will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.